Here’s something interesting from Kuching, specifically the Borneo Mobility service centre in Sarawak’s capital. It looks like a Lexus at a glance but this black saloon is actually the Toyota Mirai, the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle that has taken a much sleeker and dynamic form for the second generation.

Launched in Japan in late 2020, today’s Mirai sits on the GA-L full-size RWD version of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, as used by the Lexus LS and LC. If you remember its awkward-looking predecessor, you won’t be surprised that this new one is longer (+85 mm) and wider (+70 mm), but lower (-65 mm). At 2,920 mm, the wheelbase is 140 mm longer.

The Mirai utilises three tanks to store the hydrogen fuel used to power its electric motor, and this has resulted in range being increased to 850 km, or 30% more than the original Mirai with two tanks. The record is 1,360 km per fill. Despite the extra tank, the repackaging of the fuel cell layout has allowed for additional seating in the second row, making this car a five-seater. A pretty luxurious one too – check out the pics below.

By the way, the Mirai can be an emergency power source during emergency and disasters situations, offering electricity through two different power supply routes. The first is through connecting the car’s external power supply outlet to a dedicated external DC electric power supply system. Operating under this guise, it can supply a maximum of 9 kW DC.

The AC path feeds electricity (100 volts, 1,500 watts) through two accessory outlets to power devices. This emergency electricity supply system is capable of providing electricity to an ordinary household (in Japan) for about four days at an average consumption rate of 400 Wh, Toyota says.

Another novelty is the premise of “minus emissions”, in which an air purifier system takes in air and cleans it (down to PM2.5 particulate level) for use in the fuel cell stack before releasing the purified air back into the atmosphere.

So, what’s a Mirai doing here? Is UMW Toyota Motor looking to launch the hydrogen FCEV? Anything is possible, but we won’t be betting on that happening anytime soon. It’s no coincidence that a hydrogen-powered car is spotted in Sarawak, as the state is a pioneer in the country (and even the region) in championing hydrogen vehicles.

Over in Kuching, you’ll find a multi-fuel Petros-branded station offering regular petrol and diesel as well as water-based hydrogen refuelling and electric charging for regular EVs. The Darul Hana station is built, owned and operated by Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), and a few more are in the works.

The Borneo state has plans to start large-scale commercial production and export of hydrogen by 2027, and there’s also news about a hydrogen FCEV assembly plant in Kuching. State electric utility company Sarawak Energy runs two units of the Hyundai Nexo FCEV, and Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg personally has one of the hydrogen-powered SUVs too, leading by example.

So, is the Toyota Mirai a new addition to the state fleet, or is it Abang Jo’s new personal ride? Is Toyota the yet to be named company setting up a hydrogen FCEV plant in Sarawak? We’ll see.

GALLERY: Toyota Mirai, Japanese market